WALKER – A parish councilman has to love Livingston Parish and have the time to serve the people in his district, according to one councilman seeking re-election.
Jeff Ard, who represents District 1, took part in the Chamber of Commerce’s Parish Council Candidate Forum on Monday at Wholly Grounds Coffeehouse in Walker.
His lone challenger, Julius Craig, was unable to attend due to a family emergency, the moderator said.
Ard fielded the eight questions asked of the candidates competing for four other seats on the council.
“I have a unique district,” Ard said with a quarter of his district in an area that has funded drainage while another part is unfunded.
“I see the benefit of funding and how hard it is to do things in an area not funded. We tried to pass a tax and it failed, he said.
“We know we need a parishwide drainage system,” Ard said, but the challenge is “to make it fair. How can you make the eastside pay what westside pays?”
Why this job?
“If you don’t love this parish and do it from your heart, you’re after the wrong job,” Ard said.
“Four years ago we were asked to stop the bickering and wok with the parish president. I think we have done that. It’s hard job; the phone never stop.”
“We all believe in animal shelters,” Ard said. “We have to work with the shelters in our parish.”
A way to raise funds for animal control could be to add a fee to rabies shots, he said.
Ard said he authored the ordinance that stopped phone companies from throwing phone books in yards.
“The council can’t do it by itself. Everyone needs to have a sense of pride in the parish,” he said.
Drainage is the No. 1 issue, Ard said and one of the problems contributing to it are old, undersized culverts.
He said a culvert upgrade is needed.
“The council calls it the gorilla in the room,” Ard said, about trying to balance residential growth with people’s right to develop their property.
“We need zoing in the parish, but it’s not about telling you what can or can’t can do. It’s protecting your land,” Ard said.
“We have to work together to find way to make it work; zoing is coming,” he said.
With voters rejecting taxes, Ard said reallocating money within the budget might be an answer.
“We need to wait until a tax people voted on runs out,” then direct it to other needs, he said.